KOMODO LIVEABOARD -12th June – 25th June 2014.
‘I’m Indo It…’ (Siren Fleets’ Motto)
By Versnar Cheng
A Group of 16 Pioneer, Drift thrilling seek Divers from Abyss embark on a 12 Day Live-aboard trip of a lifetime including 31+ dives.
We arrived at Depensar Airport, with an overnight in Kuta and connecting flights to Bima the following day. The group was greeted at Bima airport by the most welcoming World Wide Dive and Sails Cruise Directors Nick and Alex.
We were swiftly motored/dingeyd over to board the impeccable SY Indo Siren. I was quickly greeted by the crews warmth and A+ service, if you ever meet crew member Joe onboard you’ll just fall in love with his welcoming smile throughout the trip.
We wind down, soak in the mesmerizing sunset and took a glimpse of the full moons crisp reflection over the oceans horizon (New Moon some would call it).
8 Hours later…..
Dive Briefing! Dive Briefing! …. Definitely my favourite daily wake up call ‘literally’! After being dived briefed prior to each diving venture, we all geared up and loaded into our dingy.
The first few days we spent flipping our Fins in fabulous Visibility, with average 28 degree Celcius temp on the North of Komodo Island:
1,2,3 … Backward rolling off our dingy like ‘James bond’, Already captivated by the dive site Crystal Rocks and Castle Rock just off Gilli Lawa Laut, absolutely astonishing. Spotting the rare Violet colored Weedy Scorpion fish, technically called the Rhinopias Frondosa. These popped-eyed Scorpionfish are well posed fish maniquins during the day due to their nocturnal habits ‘Lucky us’!
The site brought arrays of cruising white-tip/Black-tip reef sharks, Bamboo sharks, soft corals, giant moray eels, clouds of altheas, trivally, shrimps, Mackerels, schools of barracudda and turtles! If you love attention to details and macro sea life, then don’t forget to slap on the Macro lens at Castle Rock! Here we spotted the pygmy sea horse! I don’t think I have ever seen such a variety of Beautiful Nudibranch prior to Komodo; these soft bodied mollusks have the most extraordinary forms and colors imaginable! – Thanks to Nick our Cruise director and my dive buddy for pointing out all the cool hidden gems.
Roller coasters! Shot Gun! A drift dive with fascinating changes in topography in between Gilli Lawa Darat and Gilli Lawa Laut. The current is pretty intense once it picks up. Feeling like a super hero with an enriched air tank attached; We shot up and flew over a large rocky slope and into a series of amazing small canyons and reefs! The sighting is spectacular!
Surprises just keep on rolling in at Shot Gun. A baby manta came along the brinks of the oceans surface to hover and flutter it’s playful wings. With excitement and still one fin in hand, I jumped off the dingy & snorkled with the most beautiful manta ever to observe.
Magic Mantas! Makassar Reef also called Manta Point a favourite Manta haven dive spot! The congregation of these majestic Giant Mantas’ are a sight to behold! Their little beautician fish rids them off any parasites at the cleaning stations. Our eyes were super glued to our mask as we watched these Angelic winged, Plankton loving, massive mantas do their thing! Breathtaking! On this reef we also spotted Dolphins and the spotted Eagle Rays!
Another impressive dive location is Batu Bolong. As we descended with high expectations; we were welcomed by the most colourful & beautiful soft corals and amazing views! Colourful reef fishes and thousands, maybe millions (exagerated an inch here maybe) of Anthias! Cruising along the steep wall we came across the Naopleon Wrasses, Rainbow runners, Dogtooth Tunas and many Large intriguing schools of fish! Oh and don’t forget the cool as dude Giant turtle who plodded along the wall seeking some nibbles to snack on.
Mid way through our trip we gave our fins a break before we sailed down South. We toured the Komodo National Park. ‘Loy Buaya’, Welcomed by a cute monkey scratching it’s head as we docked on to the wharf. I had fleeing thoughts of a horror movie I once watched protraying the vicious predator of the Komodo Dragons; fierce carnivores, with deadly bacteria-ridden saliva destroying their prey. The thoughts subsided as we were introduced to our guides who carried their wooden Trident shaped stick for any unpredictable attacks (nervous!). We spotted quiet a few large Komodo dragons throughout the tour in the wild, I was amazed and excited!
On a side note, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly frightened of these giant Komodo Dragons.
The Komodo Dragons have survived for millions on years, but only discovered by humans a century ago. They can reach up to 3 meters and weigh up to 140 kg. These dominant predators would eat just about anything, even humans!! Once they attack, you’re pretty much doomed! Their Saliva has over 50 strains of Bacteria which would leave you dead within 12-24 hours. The tour of the Komodo Dragons on the island is definately a must-do on any bucket list, an amazing and rare experience.
A few Hours later, South Of Komodo with water temps of average 23 degrees:
1,2,3…. we backed rolled into the cooler and fresh waters of Cannibal Rocks and in the same Bay Torpedo Alley. Camera, action and MACRO lens. This site is absolutely amazing; filled with little sea critters, this site is a haven for all our Macro delighted photographers in the group. I cruised along and saw some very unique vertebrates and magnificent soft corals. I even spent a total 3mins and 25 seconds watching a spaghetti worm suck it’s numerous elongated prostomial tentacles splayed out on the sea bed under a rock (Even Sam would be amazed by this worm).
Torpedo Alley bought some amazing spottings of the Ghostpipe fish, Nudibranchs, Froggies and a variety of yet unidentified crustaceans I have not been able to name. Absolutely spectacular!
Another magical dive on the South was the Yellow wall; This wall is astonsihingly covered with huge ‘yellow’ soft corals. I oberved the Clown fish flutter their fins as they weaved in and out of the magnificent anemone (they call home), we spotted the triggerfish, Lionfish and Turtles!
Unfortunately Manta Alley didn’t bring us any Mantas that day, but there were abundant schools of fish and sealife. We later sailed back to the North of Komodo and revisited some of our favourite locations.
As we set sail and headed back to Bima, we witnessed playful Dolphins cruising besides the Siren as another magical sunset bestowed upon us.
The Komodo Liveaboard Dive trip absolutely exceeded my expectation aboard the SY Indo Siren.
The trip wouldn’t be complete and as extraordinary if it wasn’t for our Friends – the Siren Fleet Crew and Cruise Directors Alex and Nick.
Thank you Alex and Nick and the whole gang on the Indo-Siren fleet for being the most amazing host and providing such fantastic hospitality. You all made it Magical!
Missing you all already!
I also have the following Abyss Family to thank who contributed to such and utterly Amazing Komodo liveaboard trip; Sam, Blake.B, Jane, Collin, Amber, Blake.C, Michelle, Will, Juliette, Karen, Netty, Sharon, Kerryn, Richard and Curtis.
Definitely the most magical trip filled with great memories I am sure never to forget!